Monday, January 13, 2020

New "PROTECT Kids" Act HR 5573 would make COPPA-like compliance even more problematic for YouTubers


Hoeg Law has offered a video explaining a new bill in Congress, HR 5573, “Protect Kids” or “Protect real online threats endangering children today”, introduced by Tim Walberg (R-MI) or Bob Rush (D-IL).


Engadget has a preliminary summary of the bill by Igor Bonifacic, here.

Several points come into play. One is that the COPPA age increases from 13 to 16, which would obviously make it much harder to protect certain content (especially related to games) as “not made for kids”.  I think that were this to happen, Hoeg’s idea of invisible age-gates would become absolutely necessary, and I think (as I have said before) they could be built into routers (so families can have different levels of access with different accounts).

The Engadget article argues that they would apply to mobile apps, but really they already did, as Hoeg explains.

More significant, as Hoeg explains toward the end of his video, is the “catch 22” or feedback circularity in the law, that would require websites or apps that are predicated on collecting kids’ information to remove that info if requested to do so by parents later, without denying the kids’ ability to at least access the website or app.  He gave certain Pokemon Go apps (which I have seen teenagers play outside, like near the Angelika theater in Fairfax Va) as an application that could no longer exist.
  
Hoeg reports that there was a Tech Freedom conference today in the Capitol visitors’ center today (Washington DC) on COPPA, which may not have covered this new legislation, link.  I’ll check to see if there is a video of it later. I may not have as much time as I used to for going to these events because of changes I have had to announce in my own priorities recently (as here on Jan. 9).

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